Google to pay Indiana $20 million to settle privacy lawsuit

INDIANAPOLIS — State Attorney General Todd Rokita announced that Google will pay Indiana $20 million to settle a state lawsuit against the tech giant over allegedly misleading location tracking practices.

Rokitas filed a separate lawsuit against Google after talks between the company and a coalition of state attorneys general stalled, he said. These states agreed to pay the company $391.5 million in November.

In a separate lawsuit, Indiana received about twice as much money as it would have received under the coalition’s 40-state deal, Rokita said in a statement Thursday.

“This settlement is yet another manifestation of our unwavering commitment to protecting Hoosiers from Big Tech’s obsessions,” said Rokita.

The states launched an investigation following a 2018 Associated Press article that found that Google continued to track people’s location data even after they opted out of such tracking by turning off a feature the company called “location history.”

Google has admitted no wrongdoing in the Indiana deal. On Friday, an e-mail was sent to the press service of Google asking for comment on the situation.

Indiana’s lawsuit alleges that Google uses location data to create detailed user profiles and targeted advertising. It alleged that the company has been deceiving and misleading users about its practices since at least 2014.

Rokita said he is suing Google because even a limited amount of location data can reveal a person’s identity and habits. Such data can be used to determine personal data such as political or religious affiliation, income, health status or participation in support groups, as well as important life events such as marriage and the birth of children, he says.

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